Squat lobsters belong to the phylum Arthropoda. The majority of squat lobsters are found in deeper waters and have very long claws that can be twice as long as their bodies. They have long, waving, whip-like antennae that they use somewhat like cat whiskers, to locate objects and especially to maintain individual distance – the space between one squat lobster and another.
Squat lobsters generally eat small marine worms or crustaceans or scavenge on dead animals. In the Gulf of Mexico where squat lobsters are the dominant decapod (crustaceans having 10 feet) on Lophelia coral banks, they are often seeing with their claws raised up high over the plane of the reef, which could be an important feeding posture. Some squat lobster species that live among larger corals or feather stars may steal some of the protective slime from a coral and eat it, but they will try to warn off intruders on “their” coral by spreading their pincers.
Squat lobsters move freely over bottom surfaces, and often are found hiding beneath ledges or other bottom structures. Their biggest predators are fish.
You Don’t Know “Squat” ... Lobster, So Let Me Introduce You – Southeast Deep Coral Initiative: Exploring Deep-Sea Coral Ecosystems off the Southeast U.S.
Cozy on Corals, Snug in Sponges: Deep-sea Squat Lobsters and Shrimps – 2016 Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi
Deep-sea Crustaceans – NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition
Transitions to the Deep: Adaptations in Decapod Crustaceans for Life Along the 31º30N Atlantic Transect – Estuary to the Abyss 2004